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Innovative Ways Customers Compute on the Edge

Written by

CJ Arnesen

April 22, 2021

Moving everything closer to the edge is the key to delivering better, faster experiences to people through billions of devices around the world. The idea of edge computing isn't new -- Akamai customers have been caching content at the edge for decades, taking advantage of lower latency and heightened security. But now many companies are taking that idea further, using Akamai EdgeWorkers to deploy custom code at the edge. 

EdgeWorkers isn't about solving one specific problem. It's a framework for innovation, giving developers more flexibility and choice over where to run their code. That empowers developers to maximize performance and optimize the customer experience -- function by function, microservice by microservice. The new paradigm is that it's best to distribute workloads and data to the places where they run best.

The possibilities for edge computing are virtually limitless, and while that's great news for companies eager to innovate, it can be difficult to know where to start. That's why we want to share a few ways Akamai customers are moving code to the edge with EdgeWorkers and how their innovative approaches are translating to better business results.

Major global retailer accelerates load times on campaign landing pages

Marketing automation

Marketing campaigns have little time to catch and hold customers' attention. A few extra seconds to load a page can hurt conversion rates in an otherwise effective campaign. For this global retail company, page loads were slow because, although landing pages themselves were cached, the unique URLs used for tracking were not -- instead, they pointed back to the origin server. 

Using EdgeWorkers, the retailer deployed JavaScript at the edge, removing query strings before consulting the cache -- while still sending tracking data to backend marketing automation and analytics systems. That simple move dramatically improved page load times, keeping customers on the site to shop.

Global analytics company simplifies compliance with regional data privacy rules

Data privacy compliance

When companies serve customers in multiple regions, they face a lot of complexity around compliance with different regulations for data protection and privacy. Whether it's GDPR, CCPA, or APPI, companies need to be careful about how they track customers and make sure they have consent to do so.

This global analytics company solved this challenge by using EdgeWorkers to deploy an edge-native microservice that determines whether a user has previously consented to the use of cookies according to the regulatory requirements for the region the person is in. If not, the code discards the cookie and prevents tracking. If the user has accepted the terms, the function adds state-tracking cookies to the session, and that opens the door to rich personalization of the customer experience.

Luxury goods marketplace improves page performance by moving cookie tracking to the edge

Site tracking and analytics

People shopping for luxury items expect a high-end experience, and slow page loads can ruin that experience and tarnish the brand. This fast-growing luxury goods marketplace wanted to extend caching for a site that wasn't well-optimized for CDN. Cookies used to track customer behavior ran on origin servers, and the functionality didn't work on cached pages, which in return caused latency issues and wait times for customers visiting the site. 

By moving the cookie tracking method to an EdgeWorkers instance, developers bridged the gap between the original digital commerce site and content at the edge. That paved the way for intelligent caching, significantly reducing latency for faster page load times and a better, more luxurious shopping experience.

Large health and wellness retailer optimizes the customer experience with dynamic A/B testing

Customer experience optimization

When consumers go online to buy vitamins and supplements, natural beauty products, and health foods, the shopping experience matters. Minor variations in pricing, messaging, and page design can dramatically affect customer behavior and overall sales. 

That's why developers at this large health and wellness retailer used EdgeWorkers to enable low-latency A/B testing, with the ability to sort users into test groups, dynamically assemble front-end content, and deploy test codes through their GitLab pipelines. Developers are now able to continuously test and optimize the customer experience while staying within their existing CI/CD processes -- a quick, easy way to perform rigorous real-time testing with no latency impact for users, which lets the business drive higher conversions and sales.

Leading consumer electronics company protects its product launches from bad actors

Secure customer experience

The high demand for particularly popular, high-profile consumer electronics often requires vendors to limit the amount of items an individual customer can purchase during product launch. Such major product launches are often fraught with security and abuse issues. Bad actors, aiming to make a profit from reselling the goods at a higher price, rush to circumvent the purchase limitations and buy everything in stock using automated tools before target customers have a chance to obtain the new product, which makes for a frustrating customer experience.

This leading consumer electronics manufacturer outmaneuvered the bad actors attempting to disrupt its sales by moving its queuing application logic from the client to the edge using EdgeWorkers. Now, the queuing application can no longer be discovered and exploited. The company can keep page load times fast and sell its popular products to real customers, without interruption.

The power to shape the future of computing

Given the industry trend toward performance optimization, the ability to deploy code at the edge will become increasingly important. We've already seen how microservices are making applications more distributed, and code lives everywhere -- in the cloud, on client devices, in your data center, and now at the edge. With the ability to choose where your code runs best, you can optimize performance and reduce the load on your infrastructure in ways that weren't previously possible. Whether you're in retail, analytics, or consumer electronics, EdgeWorkers can help you accelerate code execution closer to your customers, wherever they are.

How will you gain an advantage in the era of edge computing?

Written by

CJ Arnesen

April 22, 2021